I know for a fact that there is a division between various groups of peoples of the Hamptons. If it’s not the locals vs. visitors, it’s those who want to keep the East End as it is, in opposition to those who want to see it become a smaller version of Manhattan. Discord is everywhere. There is even a disconnect between the hard working local fisherman and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
I have been contemplating this situation ever since I started watching the new History Channel Mini-Series, “Hatfields & McCoys.” Anyone who doesn’t know the premise will find that it is centered around a bitter blood feud between families on the West Virginia and Kentucky borders in the year after the Civil War. I believe that some people actually enjoy conflict. The series was the highest ever ad supported, non-sporting cable showing in the history of cable television. It averaged about 14 million viewers per episode. That is a lot of potential troublemakers in my opinion. And I bet some of them live right here in the Hamptons. Now I’m not suggesting our lack of harmony is as bad as that of the Hatfields and McCoys, but it is still present nonetheless. Do we need to wait until bullets start flying to do something about the situation?
On my street there are 27 homes. Sadly, of those, I only know two of the occupants. That does not breed a sense of community. There was a time when we could walk to the beach and leave our front doors open and our cars unlocked because we knew our neighbors would keep an eye out. Those days are long gone.
So Mr. Sneiv, just like I always have done when there is a problem that needs solving, recently decided to do something about the situation. My solution was to hold a “Sneiv Block Party.” I would host a party just for the homes on my street. This would surely bring us all closer. This would also set the bar for bringing unity to every street in the Hamptons. Others would follow and there would no longer be this chasm between the various classes and peoples.
My first order of business was to contact the area’s premiere Party Planner. Her services are well known throughout the East End. When we met, she made it a point to inform me that she is an “Event Stylist ” and not a party planner. I thought that it was only going to go downhill from there, but when she found out that I was the famous Mr. Sneiv, of Dan’s Papers, she was very excited. It seems that she is an avid reader of the Paper and in fact, bases her post event success rating on whether or not the event ends up as a mention in the Paper.
She shared my enthusiasm for bringing the people together via a block party. She inquired as to how much I was considering spending for such an event. I responded, “$10,000.” That is when I found out the difference between a Party Planner and an Event Stylist. Fifty thousand dollars would be the budget, her fee would be an additional $7,500, and I would also have to guarantee a positive review in the Paper. I was not prepared for that kind of expense, and I have zero influence at the Paper. I was just about to say “No, thanks” when she started in on the details. They included a raised stage in the front yard, where I would be seated in a beautiful “kinglike” chair, holding a bejeweled microphone and reading excerpts of my writings from Dan’s Papers to the crowd. I reached for my checkbook!
The planning continued and we had settled on all the details including theme, decorations, food, signature beverages and everything else that goes along with putting together an event of this magnitude. The date would be the second Saturday in July. The last item on the agenda was to discuss the invitations.
“We don’t need invitations,” I said. “I want you to go door to door and invite people. That is what this is all about. If they are absentee, you can call them from our association telephone list?” The Stylist was not prepared for this type of process, but agreed to it anyhow. She indicated that she would wait until the weekend, when more people were apt to be home and then start the process.
Two weeks went by and I had not heard from the Stylist. I checked my account and she had cashed the check. When she finally answered the phone, she indicated that she had indeed been working on the event but needed to sit down with me and discuss what had transpired since we had first met. She suggested we meet over drinks. After the second martini, she informed me, “Mr. Sneiv, we have a problem”.
She then proceeded to pull out a folder that had 27 separate paper cut outs of houses in it. Each house had an address and a name that corresponded with that address. On the back of each paper cut out was her handwritten notes:
House 122: Declined. Husband is a banker on Wall Street. Won’t attend any public functions until after Occupy Wall Street is over.
House 124: Declined. Is in a legal dispute over trees that are growing into yard of House 126.
House 126. Declined. Won’t take a chance of that “Bastard next door showing up.”
House 119: Declined. States the neighbors don’t like them because their dog barks on occasion. Dog tried to bite me while at the door.
House 128: Declined. Doesn’t like Mr. Sneiv and thinks his writing is nothing more than “dribble.”
House 121: Declined. Is too embarrassed to attend because their son was recently arrested for stealing canoe from House 123.
House 123: Declined. Doesn’t want to socialize with a “street of thieves.”
House 125: Declined. Rents his house out through a realtor in summer months. Has no idea who will be there that specific week.
House 127: Declined. Maid answered door—No Speak English.
House 129: Declined. Would reconsider if Beyonce was going to be performing?
House 131: Declined: Celebrity owner in drug and alcohol treatment. No discharge date set.
House 133: Mr. Sneiv’s House. Your girlfriend answered the door. Said she did not want to be part of another one of your crazy ideas.
As I read the notes on the back of each paper house, there was not a single person that accepted the invitation to the Sneiv Block Party. Everyone had some kind of excuse as to why they could not or would not attend. So it is with heavy heart that I concede that I have been defeated by the unfortunate fact that, just like with the Hatfields and McCoys, people are not desirous of “making peace.”
I postulate that the only time we truly come together as a people is when there is some type of disaster or national emergency. Then people unite and rally around the cause. Maybe it will take some tall ships sailing into the harbor with cannons aimed at our homes? Or perhaps the threat of a Category 5 hurricane striking this summer?
Don’t feel sorry for me. I can afford the $57,500 loss I have incurred for the failed Sniev Block Party. As for all the ungrateful people on my street, please be advised that Mr. Sneiv is erecting a five foot high electric fence all the way around his property and placing bright orange no trespassing signs on every other tree. Keep Out.